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Originally posted: 10/29/2002

Last updated: 4/23/2005

 

 
 Paramount's Kings Island

By Chris Cowan
themeparks@insightbb.com

This timeline is the result of 4 months worth of work compiling information from several sources:  Bits and pieces pulled from various Internet sites, forum posts and my own personal collection of park brochures and memories from visiting the park regularly since 1982.  One site I found particularly useful during my initial research was:  http://www.geocities.com/toddpki/history.htm

Thanks to Mark Harris for brochure scans and year corrections.

All images of park brochures, maps and logos are courtesy of Paramount's Kings Island.  Used by permission.


 Kings Island

1972:

Kings Island, owned by Taft Broadcasting, officially opens on April 29, 1972 after 2 years of construction. 

Located approximately 30 miles north of Cincinnati, it replaces Coney Island, which was not only out of room to expand, but was also prone to flooding at its riverbank location near downtown.

At its opening, King's Island features a 1/3 scale replica of the Eiffel Tower (which is still the centerpiece of the park today) and its signature ride, the Racer, a wooden roller coaster widely accepted as the ride that started a new frenzy of coaster building. 

Other rides at opening: Bavarian Beetle, Canoe Ride, Der Spinning Keggers, Enchanted Voyage, Flying Eagles, Giant Slide, Haley’s Comet, Kings Mill Log Flume, Monster, The Rotor, Scrambler, Sky Ride, Tumble Bug and Wheel of Fortune

The children's section, titled "The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera" features rides such as the Sunshine Turnpike and Scooby Doo, a kid's wooden roller coaster.

The other theme areas are:  International Street (main gates, fountains, shopping), Oktoberfest (German themed), Coney Island (themed as a classic midway) and Rivertown (water themed).


1973:

Bayern Curve (Schwarzkopf Bayern Curve) is added.

Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal (log flume) is added.

Flying Dutchman (spinning ride with cars themed as wooden shoes) is added.

The International Restaurant is added over the front gates.

"The Brady Bunch" films an episode on location at Kings Island.


1974:

Lion Country Safari & Monorail is added on 100 acres.  The air-conditioned monorail ride is an additional charge.


1975:

Zodiac (double armed Ferris wheel) is added.

Shake Rattle & Roll (Huss Troika) is added.


1976:

American Heritage Music Hall is added. 

Research and design for The Beast begins.


 

 

 


1977:

Screamin’ Demon (Arrow shuttle loop roller coaster) is added.

Canoe Ride is removed at end of the season to make room for The Beast.

Forty five riders are stranded on the Sky Ride for as long as 8 hours after high winds cause the ride to jam.


1978:

No new rides are added. 

Construction begins on The Beast.


1979:

The Beast is added and it quickly becomes the new signature ride.  It opens with the tagline "...the biggest, baddest, longest, fastest wooden roller coaster in the world!"

Bavarian Beetle, Haley’s Comet and Sky Ride are removed at the end of the season.


 


1980:

Scooby Doo children's coaster is renamed The Beastie and a tunnel is added at the bottom of the first drop.

 

 

 

 


1981:

The Bat, the world's first suspended roller coaster, is added. 

The Rotor is removed at the end of season.

 

 

 


1982:

Hanna-Barbera Carousel, McScrappy’s Farm and Jelly Bean Bowl are added in Hanna-Barbera Land.

Ferris Wheel and Viking Fury (pirate ship) are added in Oktoberfest

Timberwolf Amphitheater is built. 

One side of the Racer is turned backwards. 

Winterfest is held for the first time this year.


1983:

The Festhaus is added in Oktoberfest.

A walkthrough exhibit is added to the Wild Animal Habitat (formerly Lion Country Safari) in addition to the monorail ride.

At the end of the year, Taft's park general managers and several company vice presidents purchase two-thirds of Taft's interest in the amusement park business and form their own corporation, King's Entertainment Company (KECO).


1984:

King Cobra, North America's first stand-up coaster, is added.

Enchanted Voyage is reworked as The Smurfs Enchanted Voyage.

The Bat, plagued by maintenance problems since its introduction, is removed at the end of the season. (NOTE:  Contrary to popular rumor, no one was ever killed or seriously injured on The Bat.)

Admission is $13.50.  Season passes are $35.00.
 


1985:

White Water Canyon (white water rapids raft ride) is added.
 
Tumble Bug
is removed at the end of the season.

 

 


 


1986:

Kings Islands' 15th Anniversary.

The Flying Eagles ride is moved to the back to the park.

The Flying Carpet (giant slide) is moved to Hanna-Barbera Land and renamed Scrappy's Slide.

The Coney Island area is renamed "Coney Mall" and gets a bright new look and three new rides:

  o  Skylab (Huss Skylab in the area vacated by Tumble Bug),
  o  Zephyr (in the area of the former Flying Carpet) and
  o  Dodgems (although, technically, Dodgems is not new.  It moves to the Flying Eagles old spot, is made larger, and has more cars added.)

The Cinema 180 Theatre is also added to
Coney Mall.


1987:

Vortex, an Arrow "mega-looper" steel coaster with 6 inversions, is added.

The Zodiac is SBNO this entire season.

Screamin’ Demon is removed at end of the season and eventually sold to Camden Park in Huntington, West Virginia.  It operated there from 1988 until 1999, was SBNO during the 2000 through 2004 seasons, and was removed in November of 2004.


1988:

Amazon Falls, a shoot-the-chutes water ride, is added in the area vacated by the Screamin’ Demon. 

The Zodiac remains SBNO this season.


1989:

Water Works (12 acre water park) is added.  It includes:

   o  15 water slides,
   o  a lazy river and
   o  "Splash Island" (children's area).

The Zodiac and Der Spinning Keggers are removed at end of the season.


1990:

Flight Commander is added in the area vacated by The Zodiac.

Rushing River, a 700-foot family inner-tube raft ride is added to Water Works, expanding it to 15 acres.

Flying Dutchman is removed at end of the season and sold to Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Ferris Wheel is also removed at the end of this season.

1991:

Adventure Express (Arrow mine train coaster) is added in the area vacated by Flying Dutchman.

 

 


1992:

Boats and water are removed from The Smurfs Enchanted Voyage and it is reworked as Phantom Theater.

Scooby Zoom, kids steel roller coaster with 8 ft drop, is added in the space that was formerly the outside boat-loading area for The Smurfs Enchanted Voyage.  

Paramount purchases King's Entertainment Company on July 31, 1992.


 Paramount's Kings Island

1993:

The park becomes Paramount’s Kings Island.

A suspended roller coaster, to be named Thunder Road by the former owners, is added and named Top Gun, beginning Paramount’s trend of naming most major new rides after one of their movies or television shows.

Top Gun is located in what was once part of the Wild Animal Habitat and has the longest queue in the park. 

The Wild Animal Habitat & Monorail are closed at the end of the season.


1994:

Days of Thunder (motion simulator ride) is added in a previously undeveloped area between the turnaround points of the Racer tracks.

The Wild Animal Habitat theme area is renamed Adventure Village.

Sunshine Turnpike and The Scrappy Slide are removed at end of the season.


1995:

Nickelodeon’s Splat City is added in the area vacated by The Scrappy Slide and Sunshine Turnpike.

Extreme Skyflyer (upcharge attraction) is added.

Flight Commander is removed at end of the season.

 


 


1996:

Outer Limits: Flight of Fear is added in a previously undeveloped area on the far side of the Racer tracks.

 

 

 

 


1997:

Water Works nearly doubles in size to almost 30 acres, including:

  o  Surfside Bay, a 600,000 gallon wave pool,
  o  a sunning area and
 
o  Buccaneer Island, a new children’s play area.

 

 


1998:

Wipe-Out Beach, a body-board surfing attraction, is added to Water Works.

Three new rides are added to
Hanna-Barbera Land:

Scooby’s Ghoster Coaster,
Yogi’s Sky Tours and
Atom Ant’s Airways.

Scooby Zoom is renamed Top Hat's Taxi Jam.
 

1999:

The Adventure Village theme area is renamed Paramount’s Action Zone and two rides are added to this area:

Drop Zone (Intamin Giant Drop) and
Face/Off (Vekoma Invertigo roller coaster).

Amazon Falls is renamed Congo Falls ("Congo" is a Paramount movie title).

Son of Beast
construction begins.
 

2000:

Son of Beast, a wooden "hyper" coaster with a vertical loop, is added in part of the former Wild Animal Habitat.

Seatbelts are installed on the Beastie.

Cars are redesigned on Scooby’s Ghoster Coaster.

King’s Mill Log Flume
, one of the few rides remaining that was moved from the original Coney Island park, is SBNO this season.


2001:

Nickelodeon Central is added as a new theme area, replacing the upper part of Hanna-Barbera Land and the lower part of Rivertown.

King’s Mill Log Flume, renovated and renamed as The Wild Thornberry’s, reopens as part of the new Nick Central area.

The name “Outer Limits” is dropped from the ride now known as simply “Flight of Fear” and the shoulder bars are replaced with lap bars.

Kenton's Cove Keelboat Canal is removed at the end of the season.
 

2002:

Tomb Raider: The Ride (an enclosed Huss Giant Topspin) is added in the area vacated by Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal.

King Cobra is removed at the beginning of the season. 

Vortex gets repainted.

The Beast's sled brakes are replaced with magnetic brakes.

Phantom Theater
's last day of operation is July 14th.  Construction on a new ride immediately begins in the building.

On July 16th, during a morning test run, an empty train on Top Gun collides with a maintenance vehicle parked too near the track, causing the first three cars to derail and become badly damaged.  Top Gun reopens with the one remaining train on July 18th.


2003:

Two new rides are added:

o  Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle (a Sally interactive dark ride), located in the former Phantom Theater building and using the same cars (although modified as "Mystery Mobiles") and track.

o  Delirium (a Huss Giant Frisbee), located on a portion of the former King Cobra site and situated to swing out over the
Action Zone midway.

SpongeBob SquarePants, a 3-D motion simulator film, is added in Paramount's Action F/X Theater.

Metal detectors are added at the front gates.

The fountains on International Street are refurbished and repainted.

A large American Flag is added to the Eiffel Tower.

The turn after the first drop on The Beast is re-profiled.

Top Gun's second train re-appears with four new cars.

The queue area is extended for Drop Zone.

Most of the theme effects on Adventure Express are refurbished.

Octoberfest Gardens is remodeled and renamed Bubba Gump's Shrimp Shack.


2004:

Water Works is totally refurbished with an Australian theme and is renamed Crocodile Dundee's Boomerang Bay.

Antique Cars are removed.

Flying Eagles are removed and sent to Paramount's Carowinds, where they are installed in 2005 as Phantom Flyers.


 


2005:

Italian Job: Stunt Track (Premier Rides steel roller coaster) is added.

 



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